Septuagenarian faces A/L 2018 challenge | Sunday Observer

Septuagenarian faces A/L 2018 challenge

It is never too late to challenge yourself with education. A septuagenarian is set to prove that by facing the Advanced Level (A/L) examination. At 79, Tudor Munasinghe could be the oldest candidate sitting the Advanced Level examination this year.

Munasinghe was all excited to sit for his first exam paper on Indian History as he spoke with the Sunday Observer last Thursday.

His final exam paper awaits him on August 27, says Munasinghe. Indian History is the last of the 5 subjects he had offered. He had already answered the papers on Political Science; English Language and Literature; General Knowledge and General English.

“You shouldn’t stop dreaming and challenging yourself until you breathe your last,” says Munasinghe. Sitting for the Advanced Level is a revival of a dream which had been in his mind for long time. “I didn’t think much of education when I was young. However, later I realised I could have done better if I had opted for higher education without stopping at Ordinary Level. After retirement, when I got the opportunity to read some text books of my children I wanted to challenge myself,” Munasighe reminiscences. His faculties still continue to excel, claims Munasinghe. He remembers almost everything he reads. A good understanding of the subjects he had chosen to offer for the examination and the ability to take care of himself, without depending on others is to his advantage, he adds.

The father of four, and grandfather of five, Munasinghe is determined to become a lawyer. “I am confident I will pass the exam. If I get very good results I will apply to the Law College. If not, I will register at the Open University,” he explains. It was seeing his younger daughter, an aspiring lawyer that had inspired Munasinghe to set his goals.

All his children have had tertiary education. While two are employed at government sector establishments, one works for a private company and the youngest works abroad. With ages ranging from late forties to early thirties, all of them are caring and considerate of him even more so after his wife passed away seven year ago, Munasinghe comments. Though his children had advised him not to bother about the examination as it might tire him, “I didn’t take their advice, I went ahead with it,” he says with a hint of a smile. And now, seeing how much he enjoyed studying and what good it had brought on him, all of them have changed their attitude he laughs.

He is thrilled to have one of his granddaughters studying beside him. “She sits for her O/Ls this year. She is fully supportive of my studies. I am glad I could be of some inspiration to her.”

In retirement from 32 years of clerical service at the Ceylon Tourist Board, he spends six to eight hours reading, explains Munasinghe.

“Well, I don’t have much to do, so I read.”

A typical week day for him would start at 6.30 a.m. He is back in bed around 9.30 p.m. His first reading and study session starts soon after breakfast around 9.00 a.m. and continues till lunch at about 1.00 p.m. After lunch and some rest, he resumes around 3.30 and studies for about 2 hours. “I study or read only during daylight hours,” says Munasinghe. Though his regime sounds arduous, “there is ample space for breaks, if needed,” he adds.

The good news about his self-study sessions is that it had all taken such a short time. Munasinghe had started with collecting all the information regarding his subjects. He had not only bought text books and past papers but had acquired teachers’ guidebooks as well. “I started preparing for the exam only about six months ago,” he comments, confident that one could achieve success if determined and disciplined.

Munasinghe has a message for the young generations which face the A/L examination. “It is a crucial exam which determines your future. So, don’t play with your education,” he cautions. “Please remember you don’t need to go after tuition classes or burn the midnight oil. If you can concentrate and study properly for two hours, that’s enough. However, you need to be disciplined and determined.”

For senior citizens hailing from his generation he says; “It is never too late to dream and aspire to achieve them. It brings hope, joy and life. It brings hope for life.”

Pic: Lional P. Perera 
Kelaniya Spl Corr (Dinamina)

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